Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Very late post today. Once again, a day when more people wanted a piece of me than there is me to go around. Plus my back is some worse. Pain management specialist next month. 

Some day I'm going to read up on the psychology and sociology of parades. We sure have a lot of them around here. One of my favorites is the Annie Malone parade. The foundation she started in 1888 provides wonderful services for children and families in our African-American community

The parade celebrates their mission and work. It's always colorful and, like most of our parades, has its share of ironies. The top picture shows a big pickup promoting what we call a title loan company. If you have a title to a car - the legal ownership document - without debt on it, you can hand it over for a cash advance, repayable at horrifying interest rates. If you don't make the payments, they get your car. Controversial, to say the least. In the second picture, a woman hanging out the window of a Cadillac limousine publicizing a mortuary.

Draw your own conclusions.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Found in Malcolm Martin Memorial Park in East St. Louis, Illinois. It is directly across from the Arch and contains a wonderful overlook across the Mississippi. There is also the Gateway Geyser, an enormous water jet whose spray, wind permitting, rises as high as the Arch itself. 

Most of the area is open green space. The Authorities don't want anyone snooping on the park or the nearby grain elevator, casino or railroad tracks. (Note the camera on the symbol of the drone.) Presumably a gentle kite is okay.            

Monday, May 20, 2019


They didn't do this when I was a child, or when my own children were this age. However, in the twenty-first century, kindergarten graduation is a big deal. Ellie was bursting with pride. I have been interested to see how much her mind expanded this year. For most of her life, we read her stories at bedtime. Since a couple of months ago, she reads them to us.

Excellent phone cam shot by daughter Emily.             

Sunday, May 19, 2019


St. Louis has good manners, or some people want you to think so. I doubt that we are better or worse than other cities. Except maybe Japanese cities. The people there are amazingly polite.

The billboard on eastbound I 44 gets everyone's attention. There are a couple of others. One of them, also yellow on black, says "I 'Heart' STL".  The third, white on red, simply says "LOVE."  They were quite a mystery until it was revealed that the billboard company itself did it just as a pleasant gesture. Sure beats "this space available."

Not far away sits the Courtesy Diner. Imagine going in for coffee and a piece of pie, have the server bow, gesture toward a convenient seat and ask how s/he may serve you. No, I don't think so either.


The acutely observant Mrs. C, who proofreads my posts, pointed out that I had overlooked an obvious addition to this sequence. It's Polite Society restaurant in Lafayette Square, one of our favorites.


Saturday, May 18, 2019


A change of scene to the big art fair at Laumeier Sculpture Park. Tony Tasset's Eye must be looking for something other than the beer truck. I'd take a left.          

Friday, May 17, 2019


A concrete barrier in front of a closed flood gate along the Mississippi. Be patient for what? The water going down? The river is doing that but it will take some time for it to recede below the street behind this gate.

This is generally a good idea but there are times when patience is a bad choice. Say you were being chased by a wild animal or your chemotherapy isn't getting scheduled.             

Thursday, May 16, 2019


It piques your curiosity. Are you a bit envious that there might be something really great in there that you don't have? The fact that you (or most of us) wouldn't stop a stranger walking through a crowded street festival and ask for a glance makes it all the more enticing. The contents are unknowable and we are missing out. 

Once again, seen on Cherokee Street.     

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


A young man at the Cinco de Mayo festival. He has a serious expression and a perplexing tee shirt. Sure, people get hot playing most sports (maybe not ski jumping) but what's the point of proclaiming it? Maybe it's just sporty.   

Tee shirts can be confusing. Once in Japan I saw someone in a shirt with the text "we slay all suckers who perpetrate and lay down law from state to state." At first I thought it was hostile gibberish. A commenter later told me it was a line from Run DMC.     

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


What do you think the chances are he is playing video poker on his phone? Or that he has a fashion consultant?

Seen on Cherokee Street.             

Monday, May 13, 2019


Lots of pictures of the parade left but I decided to look down the street for something different. Cinco de Mayo is a minor observance in Mexico ( Here it is an excuse to consume large amounts of Corona beer and Jose Quervo tequila. As I have noted, St. Louis loves an opportunity to drink in public and this is a big one.

So the party spilled down Cherokee Street all afternoon and evening. Have a burrito with your booze. You could roughly translate chapparito as shorty, perhaps a reference to the owner.    

Sunday, May 12, 2019


Fun to watch, hard for me to do. The last time I rode a bicycle I needed a cortisone shot in my knee. I've been on the back of a motorcycle a couple of times but never driven one. If I tried, I would never do it wearing a fake rabbit head.

The group in the third picture is a club that participates in parades around town. They call themselves the Banana Bike Brigade. Oh, and that's a lollypop stick, not a cigarette, in the mouth of the rider in the last picture.

Saturday, May 11, 2019


The eyes. Clowns aren't just weird clothes and horn honking. They have serious moments. They can search your soul. No wonder some people are afraid of them.        

And they don't call them fright wigs for nothing.      

Friday, May 10, 2019


Children's marching/dancing teams at the People's Joy Parade. Note that there is just one boy. He doesn't seem real happy about being there.      

Thursday, May 9, 2019


Well, not yet. The St. Louis Chess club is a big deal. It has hosted major championship competitions and is the venue for the Chess Hall of Fame. It teaches the game to kids and anyone else who wants to learn. 

I'm no good at chess. Weak visual analytical skills or something. If any aficionados would like to analyze this match, please leave a comment.          

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


There was a group of clowns in the People's Joy Parade who got something to eat afterwards (clowns get hungry, too, although you'd never know it) and hung around during some of the Cinco de Mayo festival. I'll have more but I particularly liked this one. S/he seemed sad/not sad, or maybe just pensive and observant. I like all the ambiguity.

Being an opera fan, clowns often make me think of I Pagliacci . Put on the costume and make people laugh, even if your heart is breaking.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019


A lot of people march with the People's Joy Parade but some prefer rotation. The apparatus in the second picture looks like fun - if you are young and strong.             

Monday, May 6, 2019


Pictures will go back and forth for a while between the People's Joy Parade and the Cinco de Mayo festival.

Ellie likes face painting but often what's available is very basic. However, at the festival we met an extraordinary makeup artist, Debra Filipelli, . Her range of skills is exceptional.

The kid loved it. She wanted her mom to text her teacher and ask if she could wear it to school on Monday. Um, no.            

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Freude, schöner Götterfunken

Don't know how many years it's been going on or if the Cinco de Mayo street party tacked onto it or the other way around. It's one of the reasons why I like living in STL. Some local artists cooked up an everybody-has-a-good-time freestyle parade, the People's Joy Parade. It heads east on funky Cherokee Street precisely at 1:11 PM (no idea why but it's a tradition). Nobody tries to sing Beethoven, which would be great for the theme except you can't march to it. Since the occasion is loosely Mexican, everyone strides off to Cielito Lindo

The cast of characters is engaging. We will meet more of them.             

Saturday, May 4, 2019


Big Muddy is on a big rise. This was the scene in Laclede's Landing yesterday afternoon. It's been raining a lot in the region and some towns upstream are in serious danger. A distance beyond the water line here is a street with sidewalks on both sides and a cobblestone levee that is usually uncovered for some way down. The forecast is for more rise until Monday.
I have worked a short distance from the Mississippi for more than 40 years. I believe that it breathes, but oh so slowly - in and out, up and down. Right now it's doing a big inhale, swelling its chest. The circle continues. 

Friday, May 3, 2019


There was an intermezzo of sorts during the folkloric dance show seen earlier. Two women played selections of classical music that I did not recognize. From a distance I thought the one in the center was playing a violin, perhaps in its lower registers. Using my long telephoto lens I now see that it was a viola. The coordination and expression were excellent.            

Thursday, May 2, 2019


Our Chinese festival has a parade every year. It was smaller this time and I wonder if there were dropouts due to the rainy morning. This group of women, though, projected elegance and style. Their costumes made me think of spring and new flower shoots.              

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Well, I don't have any pictures handy of something purple - it's not my color -  and I'll be damned if I'm going to post a pretty purple flower. I came up with this idea when I saw a coaster in a local restaurant called Big Sky Cafe. You can see other City Daily menbers blends of red and blue at

It occurs to me that I must relate to Jimi Hendrix about the way my parents related to, say, Tommy Dorsey. All things must pass.   

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


No explanation needed. Seen at a folkloric dance performance at the botanical garden's Chinese Festival.          

Monday, April 29, 2019


There is a show of Chinese acrobats every year at the festival. Usually they are spectacular (see about the first third of the pictures here). This year I think they sent the AA or AAA league team. (American baseball reference. Let me know if you are unfamiliar with this.)  The show didn't raise anyone's blood pressure.
Still. there were some cool visuals. This young man was playing with a couple of those large Chinese yo yos. (I've seen way better displays.) But then he attached a long paper dragon to one end of the string. Not complex but tasty eye candy.        

Sunday, April 28, 2019


If you have ever attended a cooking demonstration you have probably seen one of these angled mirrors over the food prep area. This way the audience can see everything that is going on. 

The annual Chinese Festival was at the Missouri Botanical Garden this weekend. It had rained much of the morning and the grounds were sloppy so Mrs. C and I decided to do something indoors. There was a cooking show in which a Chinese chef prepared a popular dish, kung pao chicken. I had no idea how complex the original, properly prepared fare was compared to the take away you might get at the local Happy Buddha Chinese Buffet. You could line up for a taste at the end but I didn't want to stand that long.          

Saturday, April 27, 2019


Never thought of that but if I want a hole dug I want it done right. I've dug myself into enough holes over the years and made a complete mess of it. Call a professional.

Seen at the City Museum.         

Friday, April 26, 2019


I played a lot of pinball when I was in law school. After all, the only reason I was there was to get credentials that might lead to a paycheck. The tables were so much more seductive than my class on the Uniform Commercial Code. My best friend and I were almost late to our last final exam because we had 23 free games racked up on our favorite machine.

The City Museum has a good collection of old ones. Just out of the frame to the left there is a table called World Series, maybe from the 60s. American fans will instantly recognize the setting as Wrigley Field. How inappropriate for the name.

Meanwhile, Ellie found a small table with 38 year old versions of Pac Man and Space Invaders. They were just demos, not full versions, but she was fascinated. Maybe there is something in the genes.

The reference in the title of this post is, of course, to this.       

Thursday, April 25, 2019


More from the Circus Flora mini-performance at the City Museum. This young man hurled himself backward through what is the middle ring in this shot, hard enough. Then he added the top ring, making the stack taller than he was. He never touched the edge of the ring and deserved an ovation.

Sorry for no post yesterday.Too much work.          

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Under The Little Top


The City Museum contains rehearsal space for Circus Harmony, an organization that trains young people in the skills of that performing tradition. Kids who might otherwise be on the street work vary hard and learn to do amazing things. Some of the members show their stuff at the museum on weekends.

I don't understand how anybody can do this stuff since, for starters,I am not well coordinated and have zero athletic talent. But he sure has it. Four balls in the air (and another in his right hand)? Amazing.           

Monday, April 22, 2019



The kid had a busy weekend. On Friday night Ellie and mom went to the Cardinals baseball game. It was a chilly evening but she didn't care. Close game but the Cards lost to the New York Mets. Although it was late Ellie insisted on staying to the very end.

On Saturday her mom and I took her to the City Museum. That boy on the right has a "it's my turn" scowl. The visit ended with the ever-popular ball pit. They have a separate area for children six and under. Good thing. Some of the big kids get pretty rough.